Gregory Bush on his political activites in the 1960s
From - UM Libraries on August 13th, 2021
Gregory Bush, Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Public History, remembers growing up in a parochial New Jersey town that was "too stultifyingly nice" and learning about Thoreau and Emerson and their teachings on individualism and questioning authority. He grew interested, while attending Colgate College in New York, in activism and politics. He went with his father to the 1964 Democratic National Convention and saw the Kennedys there. Bush thought about entering politics but became disenchanted. He recalls joining a student protest concerning a Jewish student who was banned from joining a fraternity in 1968 -- "different kinds of incidents became symbols" of discrimination. His disenchantment grew when he went to work for Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon in 1969; he saw instances of corruption and phoniness that alienated him from politics. Bush wrote some speeches for Hatfield; one concerned tiger cages in which live prisoners were being contained in Vietnam. He moved from liberal Republicanism to liberalism, partly because he was trying to avoid the draft. He concludes with two stories. First, Bush graduated from Colgate with long hair and with two guests at the graduation: Secretary of State William P. Rogers and U.N. Secretary General U Thant. The valedictorian read out the names of all those who had refused to go to Vietnam, and the university president was furious, but Rogers and U Thant smiled. Second, Bush worked on "getting out the vote" for Senator George McGovern in the 1972 presidential campaign.